How the Bonn Agreement works

The work of the Bonn Agreement is formally governed by the Rules of Procedure. The Bonn Agreement works primarily through the resources of the Contracting Parties to examine the background to new issues and to develop proposals for the actions to be taken by the Bonn Agreement. The Bonn Agreement holds two meetings per year: the meeting of Contracting Parties to the Bonn Agreement is generally held in September, and the meeting of the Bonn Agreement Working Group on Operational, Technical and Scientific Questions Concerning Counter-Pollution Activities (OTSOPA), held usually in May.

Work to implement the agreement is taken forward through the Programmes of Work of the Bonn Agreement and the Working Group OTSOPA; the Bonn Agreement Action Plans and the Bonn Agreement Joint Action Programmes. These documents are updated and implemented annually. For each task a lead country or the Secretariat is identified to take forward the work. Where necessary, Bonn Agreement workshops may be convened by a Contracting Party to examine a particular issue. More recently the Bonn Agreement has also undertaken projects part funded by the EU such as the BE-AWARE I and II projects on risk assessment.

The Bonn Agreement issues publications including: theBonn Agreement Counter Pollution Manual which contains information needed for counter-pollution operations; the Aerial Operations Handbook which is a technical Handbook intended for use by aerial surveillance teams responsible for monitoring and assessing the extent of pollution; and the North Sea Manual on Maritime Pollution Offences which deals with the detection of maritime oil pollution offences, the collection of evidence and the imposition of penalties.

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North Sea

The Greater North Sea and its Wider Approaches is one of the busiest sea areas in the world with many commercial interests vying for space alongside the need for nature protection and space for recreational activities.